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8 August 2022

My DDE journey has been an extended one! With the birth of my daughter, my training was put on hold, but thanks to the wonderful confidence building of Elizabeth Reeves from the Betty Wivell Academy, I got there in the end.

Having worked as a professional dancer for almost 20 years travelling all over the world doing what I love, I have always felt the need to pass on my professional experience to others. When I came to train for my DDE, I was quite an experienced teacher, already holding a degree in dance, a level 6 teaching diploma and a MA in Education. However, with starting a family I had not been teaching as much, so the DDE training felt perfect for me.

My training took place during lockdown with many of our sessions via Zoom, which for me was perfect. Juggling training and a two-year-old was tricky at times but working from home made it a little easier. I found the teacher training invaluable as you learn so much about your own practice through teaching others. I’ve grown up with the ISTD and remember fondly my lessons as a child with Gaynor Walters. It’s a fantastic training tool for dancers and of course for teachers, developing strong versatile dancers and first-class teachers.

Through training for my DDE, I got to work with a variety of dancers and teachers at different stages of their careers. Regardless of our backgrounds and experiences, we all brought something unique to the training sessions. These encounters brought fresh new ideas and challenges me to think outside the box. As a teacher, educator, and choreographer I’m always looking for opportunities to develop my skills and knowledge, to give my students, the best possible rounded experience of dance.

So, here’s to the next challenge!

Mia Okorafor biography

Mia was initially trained at the Jurek Sroka School of Dance in Plymouth then at Stonelands school of dance and drama where she received her training from teachers such as Gaynor Walters and Terence Etheridge, before completing her diploma at London Studio Centre where she won a three-year scholarship and her BA Hons at Arts Educational.

Mia has worked as a professional artist for over 20 years performing on worldwide Arena tours, TV Shows, and commercials with artists such as Kanye West, The Honeyz, Robbie Williams, Nightcrawlers, and Sarah Brightman to name but a few. 

In returning to the UK Mia developed her teaching and learning completing her level 6 Dance teaching diploma with BBO Dance. She then went on to be the creative manager of dance at Millfield Senior School in Glastonbury for five years, whilst completing her MA in Arts Education at the University of The West of England. Since then, she has led a variety of projects and classes in a range of disciplines, from teaching creative ballet for the Royal Ballet Schools Primary Steps outreach programme, to working as an External Academic Advisor at Arts University Centre Weston (Weston-Super-Mare) and Italia Conti London. Mia is currently working as a freelance choreographer and dance teacher for the Royal Academy’s Step Into Dance community dance programme and she will also be teaching at the RAD’s summer school this year. 

This article is featured in Dance magazine issue #496. You can read here or subscribe online here.

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